It’s difficult, but we’ll try

Friday, November 20, 2020



Shakhtar manager Luis Castro speaks about the preparation for the game vs Oleksandriia, the Champions League and the team goals

- How much is your preparation affected by the fact that the internationals returned just two days before the match against Oleksandriia?
- Now we are experiencing one of the most difficult moments when it comes to the normal development of our work. It was impossible to think that this would happen. Seven players trained, then we learnt that the Ukraine national team would not play against Switzerland, that there are players who must stay isolated for several days, that the guys we were counting on for the next match would not be with us. The rest arrived and trained for two days. And I’m not going to hide that after Oleksandriia there will also be games that won’t allow us to work out everything that we would like to. These are facts. Please don’t take these words as excuses: we are not making victims of ourselves. We know what we need to do and which way to go. We take responsibility for holding good games, but the difficulties are very big. The things the world and football have been experiencing are terrible.

- What are your expectations of the upcoming game? What can you say about the opponents?
- It's always hard to play against Oleksandriia. We had very difficult games, and we know that the same will happen again. At the same time, only by developing some quality play, without departing from our attacking and defensive principles, we will be closer to victories. Our goal for the season is to become champions. We will go towards this goal at the limit of our strength, even realizing that the season is really atypical. Perhaps someone does not understand how Liverpool lost after conceding 7 goals, Man United gave 6 away, Germany lost to Spain, we lost to Monchengladbach ... We all gradually begin to realize that audiences at the stadiums are a decisive factor, that the mental consistency is essential. And we are very unstable now, we do not have the ability to react in difficult times in the same way as we did it before. We are all a little bit infected mentally, psychologically. We face some serious competition. We will try to do our utmost to get through this.

- What is your priority before the winter break: competing in the Champions League or successful performance in the Ukrainian Championship?
- The first goal is to become champions domestically. The second goal is to advance further in European competitions, either in the Champions League or Europa League. For that to happen, we’ll have to overcome great difficulties. Before the group stage, they said it wasn’t realistic. Monchengladbach currently have five points and are on the way to qualifying. We can also do that, but we’ll have to beat Real Madrid or Inter. It’s difficult, but we will try. Our goal is to become champions of Ukraine and advance further in European competitions.